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University of Central Florida
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF)
Pre-College Student Team Winners Announced

Friday, May 28, 2010

Since October 2009, one hundred and ninety eight student teams (representing 877 students) were enrolled in this year’s ISTF competition.  At the end of February 2010, 151 student teams submitted their research findings in a website format.  Following the preliminary round of judging, 43 teams advanced to the final round with nine student teams emerging to capture top awards in the 13th annual Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF).  These student teams will be receiving “Meritorious Achievement” certificate awards from the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at the US Department of Commerce.

The ISTF program challenges students to research how National Critical Technology (NCT) applications may be used to solve real-world problems.  They use information technology tools while adhering to guidelines based on national science content standards.  Students develop critical thinking, research and reading/writing skills as they work on-line with practicing professionals and publish their final research findings in a webpage format for preliminary and national rounds of judging.

The nine student teams that won our ISTF program’s highest honors are from:

In addition, twelve other teams earned Honorable Mention Certificates from the University of Central Florida's (UCF) College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), host institution for the ISTF.  All finalists, award recipients, and links to winning projects from this year and past years are viewable on the Winners page.

The ISTF challenges students to work as a team and learn how to communicate on a long-duration project.  At the same time, they learned about what it means to engage in research that leads to innovating new products and processes.  The following are some thoughts on what the students experienced per their project assessments and in their own words.

“Communication has to be strong and clear so that discrepancies in team meeting times and dates as well as responsibilities and due dates are clear, otherwise, people may not show up to meetings and important deadlines are missed.  -  Just as each task required research, each task required innovation which is a new way to say things and a new way to do things.  -   Throughout our research we learned that an idea isn't just a thought, rather, it involves means and motives.  -   Many obstacles needed to be overcome and many changes needed to be made in order to make our idea somewhat possible.  -  These are very valuable lessens because working together is what were going to have to do for the rest of our life not just at school, but at home and when we get older at work.”

The ISTF experience is made possible by the pioneering teachers and educators who support the students throughout the program.   Their dedication and continued commitment (with some who have participated for multiple years involving hundreds of students) recognize the ISTF program as a learning experience that combines both theory and practice in a way that complements classroom and after school activities.  The following are some of this year’s teachers’ final thoughts.

The focus on a problem, the brainstorming of solutions and the analysis of these ideas makeup the essential parts of scientific inquiry; students are forced to do this in a sophisticated manner increasing their ability to think critically.  -  The kids learn a lot about working as a team, and guiding themselves through problem solving.  It starts off as a big struggle for most of them, but they really benefit from the chance to learn on their own.

Our ISTF program is also most grateful to the many scientists, engineers and other technical professionals who share their expertise and support.  As one on-line technical advisor report is his/her final evaluation:

I believe they became more aware that before the start a research project they need to know literature about their project, state a sound hypothesis and list aims for their study.  They became aware of many of the challenges any project may face during its execution, including science, feasibility and budget. Regardless if the team is selected among best or not, I believe this training by itself should be considered a great accomplishment for the students.

The 14th annual ISTF competition officially starts in September 2010.  Interested teachers, technical professionals and parents are encouraged to support students’ interested in participating.  Those who are new to the ISTF process should visit the Newcomers Section as it provides a good starting point to become familiar with our program. 

UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science thanks the many students, teachers, technical professionals and parents who continue to support our ISTF program and we wish our winners every success with their continuing education.

Bruce Furino
Director, CECS Outreach
College of Engineering and Computer Science
University of Central Florida
E-mail: director@istf.ucf.edu